The Yogacara container universe model posits that shared reality is due to similar karmic traces or samskaras of sentient beings.this is perfectly fine,as sentient beings with similar karmic dispositions will interact with each other and have theoretically the same reality(theoretically this is possible,but for this to happen in reality especially without interruption for infinite sentient beings without error is very improbable),but there must have been a time where this series started.ni.e the series of karma-samskara->appearance cannot go into infinite regress.and there must of been a time when infinite sentient beings interacted with all of each other or produced the same samskaras leading to future shared realities before a similar shared reality could occur, to produce the series of a similar reality,but one must ask how this is possible if a shared reality is only due to shared karma or samskaras and past interaction(which is only possible with similar samskaras and karma anyway). As again,you cannot go into infinite regress of samskaras->appearances and appearances-> samskaras ,there must have been a starting point.

if you say that "No" we are fine with infinite Regress and hold unto it,it must be asked how this is possible as william lane craig has shown that infinite Regress is an impossibility as an actual infinite can never be reached,as soon as you reach a point you must keep going as an infinite can not be finite.

the exact same karmic seeds sprouting simultaneously (wich is just as improbable as what I posited earlier,i.e their sprouting simultaneously in infinite numbers of times for infinite group sets of sentient beings)produce a shared reality,but there must have been a time when sentient beings all interacted with each other to produce the same karmic seeds for a future association,but this would have to be before the initial series of samskaras-appearances and appearances samskaras started,but this would be impossible as there could be no shared reality without similar samskaras/ karma .

Again if you claim that samskaras and karma have no beginning point, then it must be shown how this is the case.

And even if it didn't have a beginning point,and infinite regression without a starting point was possible,it must be asked how shared karmic seeds sprouting all happen simultaneously in infinite cases since beginningless time without a single error.even if you assert that there must be specific conditions that create a similar appearance due to a similar samskara creating an appearance,how can this happen simultaneously for multiple sentient beings without interruption?since beginningless time?even if infinite regress were a thing,this occurring would be so improbable that it would be impossible.

I just don't Understand the reasoning behind such models,it would be dependent on literal infinite regress(literally)and even if this were possible winning the lottery infinite number of times without interruption (since although similar samskaras would produce similar realities,no samskara can be exactly the same unless there were prior association which cannot go into infinite regress,and even if it could the chances of this sprouting of the same samskara/karmic trace occurring at the same time in near infinite cases without interruption since beginningless time without end would be so improbable as to be functionally impossible),endlessly forever AT THE SAME TIME.

Again,lets assume shared samskaras exist and that two samskaras can be exactly the same without prior association,their sprouting simultaneously without error infinitely(i.e for near infinite sentient beings) forever would be basically functionally impossible.no error at all?no mismatch between similar but not not same samskaras producing the same realities at all?in any case?since beginningless time?and without end?

By auccessive addition infinity cannot be reached at any point in time,because infinity is not finite.going backwards it cannot be posited in a chain of successive series.I'm not saying that time had a starting point just that for a successive addition causally linked chain to exist,there must be a starting point.

I am not saying that samskaras producing the exact same appearances without fail endlessly for ''infinite''numbers of sentient beings is impossible.it is just HIGHLY improbable as to be functionally useless to myself.its like me being blind and fixing a rubik's cube for trillions of kalpas every 2 minutes without fail,but without end or beginning.its perfectly possible,but highly improbable.

The model that would make most sense would be a realist model like that of the Theravadans wouldn't it?


2 Answers 2


Let me try to answer your question in two parts. First, you mention Wm. Lane Craig's argument against the possibility of an infinite regress. But Paul Kabay, in his article An Infinite Temporal Regress Is Compatible with the "Doctrine of Creatio Originans" argues that:

the existence of an infinite temporal regress does not undermine the soundness of Craig's version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. To this end I shall focus on a particular complication that Craig raises against one of his arguments in support of a finite temporal regress. I will show that this complication can be made innocuous by extending the notion of A-theoretic time, which is presupposed by Craig's argument, to include a notion of temporal becoming that is compatible with the existence of an infinite regress of temporal events. All this shows that God could have created an infinite temporal regress a finite time in the past without this entailing a contradiction.

Next, theoretical physicists, Niel Turok and Paul Steinhardt developed a cosmological model which entails cyclic universes. You can learn more in this video. The point I wish to make is that according both to logic (Kabay) and theoretical physics (Steinhardt and Turok), cyclical - if not infinitely regressing universes - are indeed plausible.

As for the Buddhist cosmology - well, there's not one, single view. Nor is there a strictly Yogacara cosmology. Reading your question, it seems you are somewhat referring to the cosmology of Sravakayana (versus that of the Bodhisattvayana, the Kalacakra, or the Dzog chen view). Jamgon Kongtrul provides detailed explanations of each of these cosmologies in Book One of the Treasury of Knowledge (Myriad Worlds).

There are two important aspects of the Mahayana cosmology that your question/ pondering doesn't take into account. the first is that worlds are brought into existence not just through the ripening of individual karma, but also through the compassion of the Buddhas; the vows of the Bodhisattvas; and the natural laws of the universe.

The second point is that worlds/ world systems don't manifest turnkey fashion for all beings. Rather, beings and the realms appear gradually. Kongtrul explains:

At the beginning of the formation of a [new] world, if the previous world has been destroyed by fire, a god of the second level of meditative concentration dies and takes birth in the empty celestial residence of Brahmā [that is, on the first level]. From that point onward, beings diffuse progressively [throughout the realms] in descending order, so that all realms of existence from Priests of Brahmā and Group of the Pure down to and including the hells [fill with life]. In the case of the previous world having been destroyed by water, [this process] begins by [a god] of the third level of contemplation being born at the level below, and so on.

I hope this is helpful.


My wife and I share 80% of our realities because we live together. But 20% are still different because our minds are different and our backgrounds are different - so our perspectives are different.

My mom lives in a very different reality. Not only she lives in a different town, but her mind is very different - so she ends up living in a very different world.

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